Elections

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Sanders searches for path, purpose

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during an election night campaign event at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena, Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in Huntington, W.Va. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

MONTPELIER — After suffering four more losses Tuesday, softened just a bit by a victory in Rhode Island, Sen. Bernie Sanders must now plot a way forward for his campaign without viable path to winning the nomination. Sanders’ Democratic primary rival Hillary Clinton coasted to double-digit margins of victory in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and also won a closer contest in Connecticut. After losing New York, Sanders’ path to the nomination was extremely narrow. Now it has essentially eroded. Sanders was able to win Rhode Island, but the small state offers him few delegates and Clinton now has about 90 percent of the delegates she needs to secure the nomination. Continue Reading →

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After New York defeat, Sanders says a ‘path to victory’ remains

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks to reporters at the Burlington International Airport after losing the New York Primary to Hillary Clinton. (VPR/Taylor Dobbs)

Sen. Bernie Sanders says he’s looking forward to next week after Hillary Clinton beat him by about 15 percent of the vote in the New York primary Tuesday. “Today we took Secretary Clinton on in her own state of New York and we lost,” Sanders said to reporters after landing in Burlington Tuesday night. “I congratulate Secretary Clinton on her victory.”

Sanders didn’t say much about New York after that. “Next week, we will be competing in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland and Delaware, and we look forward to winning a number of those states,” Sanders said. He didn’t venture a guess as to how many of those states he thinks he can win, but Sanders says he still thinks he can win the nomination. Continue Reading →

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Story & Video: Gubernatorial candidates pounce on alleged EB-5 fraud, call for transparency and release of documents

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Galbraith calls for an independent commission to investigate the state's role in EB-5 projects that are the subject of civil fraud litigation. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

https://youtu.be/1W3BtbhRw4c

MONTPELIER — Candidates seeking to succeed Gov. Peter Shumlin are calling for transparency and one is seeking an independent commission to review the state’s involvement as a federal and state fraud case against two Northeast Kingdom developers proceeds. Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Peter Galbraith, a former Windham County state senator, held a State House news conference Monday to call for an independent commission appointed by the chief justice of the Vermont Supreme Court to investigate the state’s role in the fraud case against Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros. The two men are facing civil litigation filed by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission and the state for allegedly misusing $200 million in investor funds they raised through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Quiros is accused of using $50 million of investor funds for his own personal gain. Galbraith said the two men have contributed significant amounts of money to Gov. Peter Shumlin and the Vermont Democratic Party and it should be determined if those contributions resulted in any favorable treatment for the EB-5 projects led by Quiros and Stenger at the Jay Peak and Q Burke Mountain resorts, and other projects in Newport. Continue Reading →

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Speaker set to decide his political future by early May

House Speaker Shap Smith

MONTPELIER — With the clock winding down on the legislative biennium, one major political question remains unanswered — the future of Democratic House Speaker Shap Smith. Smith, 50, was briefly a candidate for governor late last summer, hoping to succeed Gov. Peter Shumlin, a fellow Democrat who is not seeking a fourth term. He launched his gubernatorial bid in his hometown of Morrisville, flanked by dozens of the House members he has led for the previous seven years. But Smith suspended his campaign soon after when his wife, Dr. Melissa Volansky, began a battle with breast cancer. His focus shifted from a political race to ensuring the well-being of his wife, a physician, and their two children. Continue Reading →

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Senate president pro-tem stepping down

Senate Pro Tem John Campbell

MONTPELIER — No matter what happens during the November elections, there will be new leadership at the State House. Senate President Pro-Tem John Campbell announced Monday he will join House Speaker Shap Smith and Gov. Peter Shumlin in not seeking re-election, choosing instead to head the state association that represents sheriffs and prosecutors. Upon completion of the 2016 legislative session in early May, Campbell will take the position of executive director of the Department of State’s Attorneys and Sheriffs, a job that reflects his work, past and present. “It’s not often that jobs open up in a field in which you have passion for,” Campbell said. “Law enforcement and being a prosecutor are things that are very important to me.”

The eight-term Democrat is a deputy state’s attorney in Windsor County, which he has represented since 2001. Continue Reading →

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Senate approves changes to the state’s public campaign financing law

MONTPELIER — The Senate has given its approval to a bill intended to make publicly financed political campaigns more viable. By a vote of 19 to 6, Senate lawmakers Friday approved S.220, a bill that moves up the date a candidate seeking public financing can start a campaign, which supporters say will allow these candidates to better compete with those who are privately financed. “My feeling is, we shouldn’t privilege publicly financed candidates, but we shouldn’t punish them, either,” said Sen. Philip Baruth, D-Chittenden, the lead sponsor of the bill. The punishment Baruth is referring to is the amount of lead time a privately financed candidate has over one seeking public financing. While a privately funded candidate may declare his or her intent to run for office and begin raising money at any time, a candidate seeking public financing must wait until the Feb. Continue Reading →

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Story + Video: Galbraith launches Democratic bid for governor

Peter Galbraith announces his candidacy for governor Tuesday in the Cedar Creek Room of the State House in Montpelier. (Times Argus/Stefan Hard)

https://youtu.be/Vj5E8T4btGM

MONTPELIER — Peter Galbraith, a former Democratic state senator from Windham County, launched a campaign for governor Tuesday, promising to change a system of government that favors special interests over regular Vermonters. “I am a candidate for governor of Vermont,” Galbraith said at a State House news conference Tuesday morning. “This is a remarkable state, but that doesn’t mean we should continue to do things as we have.”

Galbraith, 65, served two terms in the Senate before announcing in 2014 that he would not seek re-election. The former diplomat was appointed United Nations’ Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan in 2009, and served as the first U.S. ambassador to Croatia under former President Bill Clinton. The Townsend resident, who will join a Democratic gubernatorial primary that already includes Matt Dunne, a former Windsor County state senator, and Sue Minter, a former secretary of the Agency of Transportation, promised he would run the state differently than others. Continue Reading →

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Peter Galbraith plans Tuesday announcement

Peter Galbraith

MONTPELIER — Former Democratic Windham County Sen. Peter Galbraith has registered as a candidate for governor and will announce his political plans at a State House news conference Tuesday. Galbraith, who served two terms in the Senate, decided not to seek re-election in 2014. He registered with the Secretary of State’s office Monday and updated his political Facebook page to “Peter Galbraith for VT Governor.”

Galbraith has been mulling a bid for governor for several months. He recently participated in a news conference by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne to denounce corporate donations to political campaigns. Galbraith, 65, is a resident of Townsend. Continue Reading →

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Rough night for Sanders as path to nomination erodes

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign rally at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Tuesday, March 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)

MONTPELIER — Sen. Bernie Sanders had tough day Tuesday, unable to recreate the electoral magic he found with working class voters a week ago in Michigan and lost to his Democratic primary rival Hillary Clinton in Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina and Florida. Sanders is also narrowly trailing Clinton in Missouri in a race that was still too close to call Wednesday morning. Clinton had a lead of about 1,500 votes there as of 7 a.m. Wednesday, and appeared poised to grab the fifth state up for grabs Tuesday. The loss in Ohio cuts deep for Sanders, who had hoped to raise questions about Clinton’s viability and cement his political clout in the Rust Belt with a win in Ohio. But it is now Sanders who is struggling to explain his viability in the Democratic primary. Continue Reading →

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Gubernatorial candidates raise big money

MONTPELIER — All four declared candidates for governor posted big fundraising hauls Tuesday, the first reporting deadline since last July, in what is likely to be the most expensive gubernatorial race in state history. On the Democratic side, Dunne, a former senator from Windsor County, reported raising $452,436 and spending $134,668 during the eight-month reporting period. That brings his total contributions for the campaign to $567,469, and his total spending to $136,314. Dunne now has more than $430,000 in cash-on-hand — the most of any gubernatorial candidate — for the remainder of the primary season and into the general election if he wins the nomination. Sue Minter, the former secretary of the Agency of Transportation Secretary and Dunne’s primary opponent, reported raising $487,557 and spending $159,044, leaving her with about $328,500 cash on hand. Continue Reading →

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